SIGCIS 2011 Workshop: Paper Panel 2: Insider and Outsider Communities in the History of Computing

Name: Andrew Meade McGee

Institutional Affiliation: University of Virgina

Email Address:

Paper Type: Full Paper

Paper Title: Big Red, White, and Blue: Communities of Policy and Computing in Mainframe-era Washington, DC

Paper Abstract: This paper is based on the first chapter in my dissertation, “The Machine in the Grey Flannel Suit: The Pentagon, the Bureau of the Budget, and the Rise of Postwar Systems Management.” I will present general discussion of the emergence of the Federal Computing community (late 1940s through late 1960s/early 1970s), with particular attention paid to transfer of personnel, technique, and bureaucratic practice from the Pentagon to domestic policymaking agencies. Special focus is given to the institutional bodies and professional organizations, such as the ACM, that foster technology-promotion among early federal computer users. This work draws from the works of Agar, Cerruzi, Yates, and Lecuyer. I will also discuss some material on the squabble among federal agencies (BOB/OMB, GSA, GAO, CBO, etc.) to define precisely what information technology was and who should oversee its bureaucratic  implementation and expansion.